Thibaut Courtois's transfer from Chelsea to Real Madrid has stalled, but only temporarily. With Liverpool and Roma reaching an agreement on the £67 million ($87m) transfer of goalkeeper Alisson , Chelsea now have to look elsewhere to find a replacement number one.
With Roma initially unwilling to sell the Brazilian goalkeeper, they put a prohibitive asking price on the 25-year-old, which was enough to deter the Blues and Madrid, but matched by Liverpool with Jurgen Klopp seeking a permanent fix to his recurring goalkeeping problem.
Alisson's transfer has had a knock-on effect in both Chelsea and Real Madrid's summer transfer plans, as both sides had considered the Brazil international as their first choice. As a result, Real will once again turn to Courtois, with a transfer looking inevitable.
The Belgian has rejected Chelsea's advances of a contract renewal, and with just one year left on his current deal at Stamford Bridge, will be sold this summer rather than leaving for free next year. Courtois has not hidden his desire to return to the Spanish capital , with Madrid determined to strengthen between the posts.
New Real boss Julen Lopetegui already has Keylor Navas at the club, but both fans and the board believe that the position could be strengthened even more. Los Blancos were keen on Athletic Bilbao stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga in January, but saw the transfer fall apart at the 11th hour with Zinedine Zidane not fully convinced, leaving them still in the market for a long-term replacement for Navas.
With Zidane now gone and goalkeeping coach Luis Llopis at Real Sociedad, the connection with Navas is not as strong as it once was. As soon as Zidane left Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid moved for Andriy Lunin , a player they had watched for two years but whose transfer was 'blocked' by the French coach.
With 19-year-old Lunin considered the future of the club, Real are still determined to continue with 'operation Courtois', but are willing to wait for Chelsea to find a replacement for the World Cup semi-finalist.
According to Goal information, both clubs have been in contact about the transfer of Courtois, and an agreement should be reached when Chelsea have found their new man in goal. The deal could reach £35m ($45m) for the World Cup Golden Glove winner, with all parties eager to reach a resolution and the transfer expected sooner rather than later.
Before that, new coach Mauricio Sarri must add another goalkeeper to his squad for the 2018-19 Premier League season. Until then, a time-out has been granted.